4 minute read

The Islands

San Juan Islands Scenic Byway

Length: 120 miles (includes 30 mile ferry ride)

Driving Time: 2.5 hours

Local Planning Resources: visitsanjuans.com

Whidbey Scenic Isle Way

Length: 54 miles, SR-20 & SR-525

Driving Time: 75 minutes

Local Planning Resources: whidbeycamanoislands.com

At A Glance

Located on Fidalgo Island, this vibrant coastal community is accessible by bridge. Anacortes is the perfect launching point for kayaking excursions or a day trip into the San Juan

Washington State Ferry Drive or walk aboard a Washington State Ferry for the ultimate Pacific Northwest experience.

Known as the 'gem of the San Juans', Orcas Island is home to an eclectic mix of arts and culture, lush forests, pristine lakes and Mt. Constitution - the highest point in the San

Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Explore Lime Kiln Point State Park located on the west end of San Juan Island. The lighthouse is perched on a rocky outcropping and is the perfect place to watch for whales. This park is known as the best place to see whales from shore!

5 Deception Pass State Park

Explore miles of saltwater shoreline, old growth forest and breathtaking views from over 35 miles of trails woven through this most visited state park in WA.

6 Oak Harbor

Oak Harbor is named for the native Garry oak trees that grew in abundance there. Smith Park, located downtown, is a treasure trove of Garry oak trees, giving visitors a sense of what it must have been like when acres of oak trees dominated the landscape.

7 Fort Casey

This historic state park includes a marine camping area, a lighthouse and sweeping views of Admiralty Inlet and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

8 Langley

This charming 'village by the sea' is surrounded by lush forests and distant views of the Cascade Mountains. Explore Seawall Park, a small but scenic park along Langley’s main street with picnic tables, beach access and a great view of Saratoga Passage.

As you drive off the ferry, take a deep breath and relax into Island Time. Everything moves at a slower pace here. You’ll notice there’s less traffic and the rural countryside is a welcome sight for city eyes. Watch for bald eagles soaring above and water views that will keep you gasping with delight. Keep an eye out for artist’s studios, romantic wineries, and quaint farm stands that sell fresh veggies.

Don’t just drive by, stop and enjoy the beauty and bounty of island life. Ask the locals about their favorite places to eat or just walk the beach. You’ll be surprised at how many choices you have. There is a highly developed food and craft beverage scene here. Breathe, relax and unplug!

Ferry Crossing Times

Anacortes – Lopez Island: 50 mins

Lopez Island – Orcas Island: 40 mins

Orcas Island – San Juan Island: 60 mins

Mukilteo – Clinton (To Whidbey Island) 20 minutes

Deception Pass

Deception Pass

Bridge spans the gap between Whidbey Island and Fidalgo Island. This iconic bridge opened in 1935 and depending on the tide, sits about 18 stories above the water, creating a spectacular frame for this saltwater canyon.

Whidbey Scenic Isle Way

There’s something about Whidbey Island that attracts artists. As a result, you'll discover many galleries, art walks and open studio tours all year long. It’s also rich in history with historic forts, lighthouses and Ebey’s Landing National Historic Reserve.

In historic Coupeville, be sure to pick up a walking-tour map of more than 50 buildings listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Many of these house waterfront shops, art galleries and restaurants. Top chefs, local wine and craft brews, farmers markets with fresh organic produce, there’s everything a foodie could want hereincluding a Musselfest to celebrate the world famous Penn cove mussels.

On the south tip of Whidbey, Langley is the perfect seaside town to slow down for a weekend, while enjoying an array of quaint shops and restaurants. This is also a great place to watch gray whales feeding near shore from February through May.

Camano Island

The unique appeal of Camano Island is that it offers visitors a remote island experience without waiting in line for a ferry. Don’t expect trendy tourist traps. There are a few restaurants, art galleries, country-style grocery stores and bed and breakfasts to welcome visitors. Here you can walk on wideopen, uncrowded beaches with spectacular sea and mountain views.

San Juan Islands Scenic Byway

A trip to the San Juan Islands includes one of the most scenic ferry rides in the state and each of the four islands that the ferry stops at has a distinct vibe. Enjoy the gorgeous scenery, local farm-to-table dining, and wildlife watching, notably orca whales.

San Juan Island welcomes visitors at Friday Harbor with water view restaurants, shops, galleries, and the Whale Museum.

Orcas Island is known for its pottery, vibrant food culture, the historic Rosario Resort and Moran State Park. No trip to Orcas Island is complete without a visit to the top of Mt. Constitution (2409 ft) with its panoramic views of the Islands.

Lopez Island offers great cycling and beachcombing at Spencer Spit State Park. The smallest of the 4 islands with ferry service, Shaw Island has limited camping and visitor amenities.

Admiralty Head Lighthouse

This lighthouse is a must-see. It sits on a bluff in the center of Fort Casey on Whidbey Island. The lighthouse, is staffed by friendly, knowledgeable volunteers, who also expertly maintain it.

The protected waters around the San Juan Islands are perfect for kayaking, sailing, fishing, whale watching, and birding. Many of the smaller islands and rocks are wildlife refuges that provide homes for birds,

Watching

Endangered orca (or killer) whales live in the San Juan Islands year-round, and this is one of the best places in the world to see them in the wild. Visit Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Jusan Island, commonly know as Whale Watch Park-the only park in the world dedicated to shore-based whale watching.

Anacortes is home to thousands of boaters and the Washington State Ferry Terminal that connects travelers to the San Juan Islands. It’s easy to get out on the water here with whale watching cruises, kayak tours, and fishing charters. Kayakers love the city’s Seafarers’ Memorial Park, which features a pristine cove and its own small boat dock. On the Fidalgo side of Deception Pass State Park, many kayakers choose to launch from Rosario Beach. Also popular among those interested in the south Fidalgo area are the Deception Pass boat tours. On terra firma, walkers, hikers, and cyclists can explore over 50 miles of multiuse trails in the Anacortes Community Forest Lands.

Downtown Anacortes charms with antique stores, boutique shops, art galleries and plenty of eateries. Every summer Anacortes celebrates its maritime heritage with the fun-filled Waterfront Festival and its local artists with the renowned Anacortes Arts Festival. Anacortes has something for everyone to enjoy.